Less Extensive and Less Expensive...
A recent survey showed that 2 out of every 3 diagnosed cavities goes untreated. To put this into perspective, 2 out of every 3 rotting teeth that are seen by a dentist and explained to a patient or their parent do not get scheduled to be fixed. Over the long term, this means that these teeth will continue to decay and cause pain, infection, and more extensive and more expensive treatment.
Why is this happening?
First, as a general rule, early stages of a tooth problem rarely cause pain. By the time a tooth actually hurts, it generally needs more extensive and more expensive treatment to fix it. Technology is such that your dentist can diagnose and fix old leaky fillings, small cavities, initial stages of gum disease, and failing crowns or bridges before they start to hurt. Being proactive saves you, the patient, time, pain, inconvenience, and money.
Communication is another big reason dental treatment goes undone. We dentists love to start talking about science and technology and procedures. Get me started about implants and I can ramble for hours on surgical protocols, implant designs, biomechanics, restorative options...bored yet? This can be a reason patients get lost and forget to schedule those fillings before they hurt.
Time and money are also hurdles to preventive dental care. There is no way around the time it takes to attend a dental appointment to receive treatment. Fortunately, proactive treatment can be scheduled, whereas toothaches usually happen at the worst of times. With a little planning, multiple procedures can often be grouped into fewer appointments to minimize dental office visits. On the financial side, many dentists will help to file your dental insurance and offer a variety of ways to pay for needed treatment. Some patient financing programs even allow zero percent interest for dental care. Spreading out payments helps to make treatment more affordable.
Finally, there’s good old human nature. As a rule, most of us are procrastinators. It is very easy to put off dental care until tomorrow. Just try not to wait until it gets more extensive and more expensive than it needs to be.
Until next week, keep smiling.
-Please send ideas to Drs. Parrish at www.ParrishDental.com.